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College Hockey:
15 guys under the radar

In case you didn’t read last week’s “15 things,” here’s the deal. My midweek blog will pick 15 things that strike me in a given week. Why 15? This is USCHO’s 15th season. What will strike me? I dunno.

Given the interesting things we’re seeing in the early going, I will state the obvious about these 15 guys who previously have been under the radar but may not be by the end of the season. The list is alphabetical.

1. Chad Billins, FSU. Who? This junior defenseman has two goals and an assist. Both goals were power-play goals, one was a game-winner, and Billins is plus-four in this short season (highest on the team, tied with a bunch of other Bulldogs). By comparison, Billins had three goals in 40 games last season. He also has no penalties so far — a big bonus for a team looking to play much smarter this season.

2. Max Campbell, WMU. Sure, Campbell had a great sophomore season with 16 goals and 15 assists, but last year — his junior year — he had six goals in 34 games. He’s off to the kind of start that will remind people of his capabilities: two goals, one assist, four games. He had the overtime game-winner Oct. 9 against visiting Canisius to give new head coach Jeff Blashill his first career win.

3. Matt Cowie, LSSU. A senior defenseman, Cowie has two goals in four games, equaling his total in 36 games a season ago. True, Cowie is minus-five on a team that is mostly underwater, but he’s also playing for a team hungry for offense, hungry for leadership. Seniors with fast starts make statements.

4. Danny Dries, OSU. Dries is a senior who transferred from New Hampshire, where he had 21 goals in his freshman and sophomore seasons. He only has one assist now, but he can be a spark on an severely underachieving team now playing for an intense head coach.

5. Andrew Fernandez, NMU. A senior defenseman on a team that lost a lot of leadership from a year ago, Fernandez has two goals in three games, equaling his career-high two goals in 25 games two seasons ago. Both markers this season came late in the third period of a 3-2 loss to Minnesota-Duluth Oct. 9. Gutsy.

6. Andrew Hammond, BGSU. Went 0-12–2 last year in his freshman season with a 4.30 goals-against average and .880 save percentage. As the saying goes, that was then. There’s a new coaching staff and an entirely new team philosophy in Bowling Green. Last weekend, Hammond posted a 3-0 shutout over Clarkson for his first career win.

7. Nate Hennig, FSU. He’s a senior forward and you’ve never heard of him. That’s okay, because he played 35 games in his first three years with uninspiring numbers (2-6–8). This season, he’s played three games and has three goals, including the game-winner in FSU’s Oct. 15 win over SLU. He had 16 goals in 54 games his last season in the NAHL. Inspired players come out of nowhere at FSU, and seniors are inspired.

8. Joe Lavin, ND. Lavin, a senior defenseman, transferred in from Providence midway through his sophomore season and was able to play the second half of the 2009-10 season. In spite of his short tenure in South Bend, Lavin was chosen unanimously by the players to captain the team this year. He has one goal, shorthanded, and one assist in four games this year.

9. Greg Pateryn, UM. It’s hard to be under the radar on a team that shows up on everyone’s GPS, but that’s what makes Pateryn such an interesting guy to watch this year. The junior defenseman is part of a solid, experienced corps of blueliners, having earned his way into the starting lineup. He has one goal in four games.

10. Brett Perlini, MSU. This junior forward caught a few eyes in last year’s Great Lakes Invitational with his MVP performance of three goals and two assists. In 20 games last season, Perlini had seven goals and five assists; he has two goals in two games so far this year.

11. Kevin Petovello, UAF. In four games so far, this senior forward has equaled his goal output from 29 games a season ago and is nearly a third of the way to his career goals total of nine. Nanooks coach Dallas Ferguson was wondering where the offense would come from this season. Petovello has the desire to do the proverbial stepping up.

12. Brock Shelgren, MSU. This junior defenseman is poised to take up some of the slack left by the departure of Jeff Petry. On a team looking for an overall identity, Shelgren has contributed a goal and an assist in two games. He had one goal in 61 games previous to this season.

13. David Solway, BGSU. A senior forward who had a solid freshman season, a very good sophomore year…and a disappointing junior year. Last year, five goals in 24 games. True, his only goal in four contests this season is an empty-netter, but he was recruited for his offensive ability once upon a time. I say he’ll flourish under the new coaching staff at BGSU.

14. Eric Spady, NMU. Spady is the other senior Wildcat defenseman on a team with a very young blue line. Like his teammate, Andrew Fernandez, Spady has the chance to step out of the shadow of NMU predecessors, and has two assists in three games.

15. Patrick Tiesling, Miami. This senior forward spent his first two years in Bowling Green, sat out last year to transfer and is already contributing to Miami this season. That alone would make him interesting, but given that he has four assists in four games, putting him third among RedHawks in scoring — well, that is interesting. Miami is littered with offensive play-makers. Someone new in the mix is too much fun not to watch.

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  • http://twitter.com/gfmorris Geof F. Morris

    Having only seen the FSU guys down here, I’d echo Paula’s thoughts on both Billins and Hennig. The latter just worked, worked, worked.

  • Ridingtimes

    I said it before I have respect for BC…The officals had nothing to do with the game..End of that story. Next i said watch out for this CC team they are a really young team and they have gotten hot late. Now SCREW BLUE..Atleast they wont have the same officcal that called the game the GLI tourney to Michigan. Becareful scUM you barely beat us with out JS….and Howe not playing that good at all….GO TIGERS beat scUM..It is 10:50 and Michigan still sucks

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_NEWL54EAOHPJKXLHMHOCMV2764 KN

    That game was set up for Miami to lose. They’re supposedly the 1-seed, but they’re forced to play 15 hours away from home against a 4 seed who’s playing in their home state, only 1 hour from their campus. Miami got screwed by the refs in the second period… they called bogus penalties against Miami and didn’t call legitimate penalties against New Hampshire. Penalties should at least be called both ways.

    Not that Miami played great, because they didn’t… but all teams deserve a fair match-up, especially 1-seeds, and Miami didn’t get anything fair. BC and Miami should have traded regional locations and the games would have been much more fair.

    • Jason

      The rules have been in place for a while now regarding host teams playing at their regional and the committee avoiding intra-conference games. Get over it.

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_NEWL54EAOHPJKXLHMHOCMV2764 KN

        Well, maybe the rules need to change. What’s wrong with campaigning for a change in the rules? I think a lot of fans would agree. The WCHA has 2 of their 3 teams playing in the same regional. The CCHA has a #1 playing in the home of the #4. The CCHA also has 2 of their teams playing at the same regional. Hockey East has a #1 playing in the wrong regional.

        Maybe the rules suck and if no one takes a stand, they’ll never change.

        • Jim

          Maybe your team had an off night. Is it possible they could have had an off night if game was in Cleveland or Columbus or Cincy? They lost. Deal with it.

        • After Further Review

          But you are using the same argument that has been used for years and plenty have complained. Guess what??? It hasn’t changed!
          The NCAA wants $$$$$.
          And in reply to your other post, there was a definite phantom trip against UNH late and both teams were just superb on the power play anyways, a combined 0-7!

    • Snively

      KN — game wasn’t as close as the score (Miami had calls go their way also, such as a phantom “trip”). Don’t take my word for it, check Check Dave Hendrickson’s appraisal above. They played great for the first 40 seconds or so… just like they played great for the first 59 minutes in last year’d final.

    • Wildcatalum

      Boo hooh!!!

    • MoWanchuck

      Miami played in slow motion. That is on nobody but Miami. They had the right of last line change which is actually more valuable in that game because the UNH crowd was FAAAAAAR from a home crowd at a Wisconsin or UND game. You play sluggish…….you lose….doesn’t matter when or where.

    • Jim

      Don’t forget to sleep with your blankey tonight…the whining is pathetic. Ask Blasi and he will tell you they got bet. End of story.

  • Gken

    really can not believe that unh got such a good draw much have paid of the ncaa the way they paid the hockey east officials this year. hope they play merrimack and get crushed

    • Nailz

      Paying off officials? Wow. Do you know anything about hockey? UNH advances…beats Miami 3-1. Period. Who’s your team Gken?

    • Aes0570

      Gken, you sound like a very bitter Miami or BC fan. I feel bad for you.

    • Jim

      Good luck next year. Do you really think the fact UNH is only an hour away had that much impact on Miami not playing well. You don’t anything about hockey I guess.

    • After Further Review

      Hmmmm, Merrimack huh? Guess not…
      This is not a post against Merrimack fans, just the disgruntled Gken. Congrats on a GREAT season and a tough way to lose it tonight.

  • Preynolds4

    and let the whining begin!!!!

  • drewmeister

    Couldn’t sleep. Spent the night trying to figure out how someone can blow a whistle when their head is so far up their butt they must be trying to see the game through their navel! Just sayin’!

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_NEWL54EAOHPJKXLHMHOCMV2764 KN

    Congratulations to the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame. Good job on a huge improvement in your play from last week at the CCHA tournament. Good luck in the Frozen Four.

    Good job, too, to UNH who played a good game. Regroup and I’ll be looking for you in the tournament again next year.

  • Ridingtimes

    From a CC fan..GO WCHA….

  • After Further Review

    And the BC excuses start…
    I am not going to bash them, they have had a great run. And, BC was not overrated, they were a very good team, just beaten by a better team on one particular night. 22-2-1 since Thanksgiving weekend is pretty good. Howe played great, CC out hustled them and hitting the post 3 times didn’t help either. Great season.

  • Ridingtimes

    Yea but scUM wont have the Officals to give them the game like they did in the GLI Tourney. Wait to they see Jaden this time..and this is not the same Howe you saw then. This team is so young..only losing 3 starting guys next year..Mostly Fresh and Sophs….

  • CCTigers

    Its not like CC is a new comer to the NCAA’s. Take a look before you talk!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=501157411 Joey Loeffler Jr

    UMD-Union refs were horrible. MIchigan goal was probably good, but overturn was disgusting slap in the face of the rulebook. Goaltender interference call was bad but that game wasn’t poorly officiated and in all honesty did not make a bit of difference. BC choked.

  • nutmeg

    Totally agree refs in Sy. Louis blew it. Calling no goal originally, nothing “overwhelming” to overturn original decision. How you can blame refs in BC/CC game is way out of line though. Total blowout, Howe played great when he had to, a ton of odd-man rushes, shorthanded goals, power play goals, CC getting to almost all 50-50 pucks. Final score could have been much much worse. Hard to blame Muse, also. He had no devensive support.

  • hockey_lEast

    Want some cheese with your whine?? Now you know how CCHA and WCHA teams feel EVERY year getting sent east. CC would have beat BC if they played in a parking lot in Boston.

  • Sheps20

    Funny CC played North Dakota 3 times this year split the regular season series and anyone that watched their game in the WCHA tournament knows the game could have went either way–so either CC is pretty good or North Dakota is over-rated as well–go figure.

  • CCTigers

    Sheps clearly knows whats going on!!!!!!

  • Nailz

    Haven’t heard back from Sundance huh? Must be getting ready for next year….

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_NEWL54EAOHPJKXLHMHOCMV2764 KN

    I made one post saying a couple of things were unfair. (Miami gets sent to the Northeast to play a Hockey East team almost every tournament.) And backed up my statement when someone had something rude to say about it. I wouldn’t say that’s “complaining so much.” And I could care less whether you win or not… I’m just saying that if you show some sportsmanship, I will too. *handshake?*

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_NEWL54EAOHPJKXLHMHOCMV2764 KN

    The only thing I’ll have to say about the game tonight is congratulations to both teams for playing and good luck to the winner in the future. I show sportsmanship. You’re the one rubbing in my loss… I said several times that my team didn’t play well. I just made one suggestion that the selection committee could have done better and everyone jumped all over me. What do you expect me to say? It’s frustrating watching the same thing happen to my team every year and seeing the Bostons have such success. I just wish that my team could catch a break.

    And, yes, playing at home has a big impact in the CCHA. You’ve obviously never been to a game here. I realize that you Hockey East fans are more reserved than CCHA fans. But don’t tell me that it doesn’t make a difference when you’ve never been to a CCHA game.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_NEWL54EAOHPJKXLHMHOCMV2764 KN

    Really? I just said congratulations to your team and good luck in the future. I said UNH played well and Miami didn’t. I made one suggestion for improving the entire tournament for all teams in the future. And you’re calling me a whiner. Who’s the one with sportsmanship here?

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_NEWL54EAOHPJKXLHMHOCMV2764 KN

    The thing I liked about gken’s comment was the part about “I can’t believe they got such a good draw.” If I could like one sentence and not the rest, I would. I wouldn’t say that they paid off the officials and I certainly couldn’t care less about any comments about Merrimack beating anyone.

    I don’t have a problem with you, your team, or other fans. I love hockey. I didn’t realize that suggesting a change in the selection rules was going to have people up in arms. But after being targetted by everyone else, I had to defend myself. I didn’t realize that making one little comment was going to make me perceived as such an unsporting whiner… after all, I never said anything bad about your schools, your hockey teams, your fans, etc. I made one calm legitimate suggestion about a change in the rules and everyone jumped all over me and rubbed in the loss after I was already frustrated.

    The thing about the power plays is that Miami does much better when playing from ahead than from behind. I think they do have a mental thing about being behind. That’s what made me so upset about all the penalties in the 2nd period. Those penalties gave UNH the momentum and allowed them to take the lead. Getting 2 power plays after we’re already losing is not the same as getting 4 straight power plays while the game is tied. But I agree that it’s Miami’s fault for not finding a way to score… and UNH did play some good defense on the PK. Miami plays too much dump and chase in the tournament. It works ok agaisnt other CCHA teams because Miami can usually win the chase to the puck (or at least slam into their opponents and take the puck back), but it doesn’t work against you Hockey East schools because something in the water makes your players so much faster than ours.

    I agree that Miami didn’t play their best. I agree that UNH played well. I congratulate UNH and wish you and your team luck. I hope that Miami plays more Hockey East teams in the future… they’re not going to get any better against your style of play without playing against them.

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